Palestine OAPSE will get a little more in 2016

EAST PALESTINE – The district’s classified union is getting another raise, but not until 2016.

The Board of Education has approved a 1 percent increase for the last year of the three-year contract for members of the Ohio Association of Public School employees (OAPSE).

Superintendent George Fisk said the increase was discussed during contract negotiations last summer. OAPSE was awarded a new three-year contract in July after only three hours of negotiating, ending the two-year wage freeze instituted in the previous contract.

The new contract took effect on Aug. 1 and originally included 2 percent base raises in the first two years and no raises the third year. Union members are contributing 6 percent on their insurance.

Fisk explained a raise is possible in the third year now because of teaching retirements and attrition over the last two years. He estimated 15 to 20 teachers retired during those years.

Union members were aware last summer there would be a possible raise in the third year, he added.

“We agreed we would look at the third year if finances changed,” he said, noting that when the contract was drafted the district did not have the 2014 budget finalized.

On Monday the board approved amending the contract to include the raise in the third year, meaning the classified staff will earn higher wages each year of the three-year contract.

The union covers bus drivers, custodians, aids and secretaries.

Another personnel change approved included dividing two existing supplemental contracts between five people for one head and four assistant baseball coaching positions resulting in no additional cost for the additional hires.

Fisk said the move was suggested by athletic director Rick Istnick and it will allow for more coverage with regards to coaching.

In a letter to Fisk and the board Istnick said Eric Barone, Trey McKim, Jeff DeChellis, Aaron Walker and Josh Rankin are the best choice for the positions.

Barone and McKim are both teachers at the high school and varsity football assistants. DeChellis played baseball at Struthers High School and has coached their youth leagues the last few years, Walker was a four-year varsity pitcher at East Palestine High School and pitched division I college baseball at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, and later went on to play professionally for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Rankin also was a four-year varsity player at Crestview High School and has coached youth clinics at Vance’s indoor facility on state Route 14 in Unity Township.

Istnick also recommended Jim Vance for the volunteer baseball coaching position.

In other business the board approved the 2014 tax budget. The district is anticipated to have a cash balance of $1.42 million as of July 1, up from $1.37 the same time last year.

The district still owes $719,167 on the stadium lease it took out in October of 2006, according to the budget. The lease is due in October of 2016 and features 5.29 percent interest.

The next board meeting was set for 6 p.m. Feb. 3.